There are different ways to build up the church. One way is like a business. In which case you’ll focus on the products and messages that you can get to people so they will become members. Another way is to run the church like a non-profit service organization. In which case you’ll focus on service projects. Another way is to run the church like a social club. In which case you’ll focus on serving the wishes and desires of the customer, I mean congregant.
Another way to run the church is to carry out the mission. In which case, you’ll see the church as a means to fulfilling the mission – think of it as an organization that supports a community on a mission.
Clint Schnekloth is a pastor whose blog I read from time to time. He offers some interesting perspectives – some I agree with and some I don’t. Regardless, I have to think about the topic a bit differently.
In a recent blog post, he wrote about the one thing that will strengthen a church. I wasn’t sure what to make of the title initially. It’s difficult to tell which version of church many people believe in. Here’s what I found:
Every Christian, every church member, schedules an individual meeting with their pastor.
In that meeting, they share with their pastor how they’re called to serve in the congregation, in their family, and in the world.
Each person in this meeting asks not what the church can do for them, or what they can get out of church, but what they can do individually for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God.
Boom. Drop the mic. Clint hit the nail on the head. Think your church is dying? Trying to do all sorts of programs and activities to draw people in? That’s the exact wrong focus. You’re focusing on the problem – a dying church. It’s the wrong focus. Instead, go back a bit further – why does this church exist at all? The answer to that question is that the church exists to carry out a mission. Get back to the reason the church exists and you come up with ideas that Clint shares in his blog post.
What we focus on, we get more of. What we focus on, we give legitimacy to. What we focus on, we expend our energy and effort for. If things aren’t working out so well for your church, do a little self-examination. What are you focused on with your church?